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Red Bulls find silver lining in frustrating draw

Photo by Bill Streicher/USA Today Sports
Photo by Bill Streicher/USA Today Sports

CHESTER, PA– Every player and coach in the New York Red Bulls locker room on Sunday voiced displeasure with how their 2-2 draw with the Philadelphia Union ended.

Jesse Marsch’s side gave up two goals in quick succession and then were outplayed once Ilsinho was sent off in the 72nd minute for an elbow to the face of Connor Lade.

“Until we figure out how to deal with some of these moments, it’s going to feel like a long year,” Marsch said. “On the road, we just find a way to shoot ourselves in the foot. We’ve gotten leads. We’ve played well for major stretches. We’ve been the better team for major stretches and we’ve walked away with very few results.” 

Midfielder Sacha Kljestan echoed the sentiment of his head coach.

“We’ve got to do better in the second half,” Kljestan said. “We played like boys, not men.” 

The concession of two second-half goals were similar to the ones given up by the Red Bulls in the June 29 U.S. Open Cup loss to the Union in which Jim Curtin’s side progressed by way of a pair of second-half tallies.

“We made the same mistakes we’ve made in the past,” Kljestan said. “(Chris) Pontius scores a goal again the exact same way he scored against us the last time. It’s going to be a long season if we don’t learn from our mistakes.”

“How they can just play balls up the field and be on the run basically at our goals from the sides,” Kljestan said. “It’s mistakes. We’re not men and we don’t manage the game well. We’re up a man and we have to go to five at the back because we aren’t getting the job done defensively, It’s ridiculous, It’s a disappointing result.”

Pontius has recorded three strikes and earned a penalty in the last two matches against the Red Bulls. Letting the midfielder roam free is a major issue for Marsch.

“Frankly it’s not doing well on the back side,” Marsch said. “It’s partly Chris Pontius but it’s also just that whoever plays right back for us doesn’t do the job. If they do the job, then it doesn’t trouble us but because they were late and asleep and don’t see that Chris is running, all of a sudden Chris has tap-ins. I mean it’s easy as can be for him. All he has to is run down the field and tap the ball into the goal four times.” 

Despite all the anger postmatch, the Red Bulls began to gain perspective of how important a road draw at Talen Energy Stadium could be at the end of the season.

“If there’s any sort of silver lining, its the fact that we got a point on the road against a very good team who’s been very successful playing at their place,” goalkeeper Luis Robles said. “We can’t feel it right now, but let’s fast forward a couple months and all of a sudden that point is vital and is important. Maybe that’s where we can see a silver lining.” 

The Red Bulls also began to focus on receiving a rare full week of training ahead of their rivalry clash with New York City FC on Sunday.

“We know it’s going to be a tough match next weekend, but before it happens next weekend, there’s certain things we need to evaluate and get better at,” Robles said. “Hopefully we can use it and take advantage of the full training week.” 


  1. I am not necessarily disputing the events of the game but I thought FS1’s inability to show different angle replays of the penalty and tying goal are shocking. I find it nearly impossible to watch a soccer match on any of the FOX networks. If a match is available on any of the Spanish language networks, I prefer to watch the matches there…

    Can I also mention, the showing of player close-ups when the ball is in play….

    • Totally agree. It seemed especially bad during the Copa America. You’d see a bunch of pointless slow motion replays, meanwhile the game has restarted.

  2. This team could be in the Supporters’ Shield conversation if not for all the dropped points. That being said, if they save the best for the playoffs then nobody will care.

  3. Marsch: “Until we figure out how to deal with some of these moments . . .”
    Klejstan: “We made the same mistakes we’ve made in the past.”

    RBNY are 20 games into the season, and they’re still figuring these things out? That is scandalous. Do the coaches not know how to make adjustments when they have a lead so that the back line is not so far upfield? Does the back line not know how to make these adjustments on the fly? Sometimes it seems like this team knows only one way to play, and will live or die by the high press. That is not a recipe for success. Moreover, that vaunted high press is not creating as many chances as it used to; RBNY have scored just 20 non-set-piece goals in 21 games, and are on pace to score 10 fewer goals than last year.

      • On adjustment he tried a few times was going to 5 at the back and that didn’t work. The schedule has been pretty hectic which could explain some of the blown leads. Still, they had a second half lead in four road games in the past month and came away with 2 draws and 2 losses and that’s just not good enough. Looks like retaining the Supporters Shield isn’t going to happen but they can still win the East and qualify for the Champions League again. That’s mostly due to how terrible the East is but I’ll take it.

  4. I love how it’s all about the poor NJ Energy Drinks and their lack of form and stamina in seeing out games. Sapong’s goal in the 1st half should have counted. It bounced off of the RB defender before Sapong scored. If the Union are up a goal or have a clean sheet at the half it’s a wrap because they come at teams in waves in the 2nd half. The Union score goals in bunches and while Marsh thinks his team could have score 4 in the first half, The Union could have scored 3 in the 1st half and 6 in the 2nd if we’re counting chances and would’ve, could’ve, should’ve as RB does constantly.

    • That’s a great story but your team was totally outplayed the first 65 minutes and was fortunate to get a point at home. Nothing for you to be on here the next day bragging about.

  5. Decent performance but this is the fourth time in the last month they’ve blown a second half lead on the road.


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